Super Bowl 40–A Commercial Occasion

[Pre-Game Pre-Ramble]
USA TODAY provides a list of Super Bowl ads, complete with a one-line synopsis for each.
Some of the spots don’t sound too good.

Ameriquest: Patient’s family walks in on medical misunderstanding.
Budweiser: Sheep is a big fan of big game.
CareerBuilder: Chimps celebrate strong sales quarter.
Gillette: Five-blade razor is a top secret until now.
GM Hummer: Monsters marry and have a Hummer baby.
Michelob Ultra Amber: Touch football gets ugly.
Paramount: Ads promote Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible III.

[1st Quarter Stats]
– Crispin Porter’s “old Hollywood” Burger King spot. Mildly humorous in an over-the-top fashion. But where’s the flame-broiled burger?
– Fed Ex caveman spot. I like it. Best spot so far. It dramatizes the brand promise in a smart, memorable manner. Love the line about Fed Ex not being invented yet not being an acceptable excuse (for not sending the package via Fed Ex).
– Diet Pepsi’s “brown and bubbly” P. Diddy spot. Catchy tune that fans can sing along with.
– (3) Bud Light spots. Sophmoric humor is alive and well. No surprise there.
[2nd Quarter Stats]
– Caddilac couture. Escalade as fashion icon. Whatever. It’s a truck.
– Dove’s self-esteem campaign. Great message. Good to see during the testosterone fest.
– Ford’s Kermit the frog spot for its new hybrids. Interesting approach–if you grew up watching Sesame Street, buy Detroit green.
[3rd Quarter Stats]
– Fabio’s Nationwide Insurance spot. A gross way to say time flies (so you better buy insurance).
– Hummers little monster. Clever and dramatic, but strange, maybe even a little disturbing.
[4th Quarter Stats]
– Emerald Nuts. Winner of the “We’re weirder than those other nuts!” award.
– HeresToBeer.com. Preaching to the choir in this context, but the spot delivers an effective, believable message–that beer is the universal beverage.
[Post-Game Recap]
This year’s commercials were uneventful through and through, with only a few bright spots, which is hard to understand on some level. When you have 90 million viewers paying attention, you better have something to say. Go Daddy, a firm that made a bang last year with their Congressional hearing spoof, had nothing coherent to say this year. What a waste.

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About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.